Life strategy and diet of Calanus glacialis during the winter–spring transition in Amundsen Gulf, south-eastern Beaufort Sea
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The copepod Calanus glacialis plays a key role in the lipid-based energy flux in Arctic shelf seas. By utilizing both ice algae and phytoplankton, this species is able to extend its growth season considerably in these seasonally ice-covered seas. This study investigated the impacts of the variability in timing and extent of the ice algal bloom on the reproduction and population success of C. glacialis. The vertical distribution, reproduction, amount of storage lipids, stable isotopes, fatty acid and fatty alcohol composition of C. glacialis were assessed during the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study. Data were collected in the Amundsen Gulf, south-eastern Beaufort Sea, from January to July 2008 with the core-sampling from March to April. The reduction in sea ice thickness and coverage observed in the Amundsen Gulf in 2007 and 2008 affected the life strategy and reproduction of C. glacialis. Developmental stages CIII and CIV dominated the overwintering population, which resulted in the presence of very few CV and females during spring 2008. Spawning began at the peak of the ice algal bloom that preceded the precocious May ice break-up. Although the main recruitment may have occurred later in the season, low abundance of females combined with a potential mismatch between egg production/development to the first feeding stage and phytoplankton bloom resulted in low recruitment of C. glacialis in the early summer of 2008.